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Losing TouchA man without his body$
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Jonathan Cole

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198778875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198778875.001.0001

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Feeling the Warmth

Feeling the Warmth

(p.111) 10 Feeling the Warmth
Losing Touch

Jonathan Cole

Oxford University Press

Ian has normal temperature and pain sensations because his smaller sensory nerves are functioning. One type of these, CT fibers, respond to light touch. Recent evidence suggests these may underpin the pleasantness of touch and social or affective touch. The difficulty is to show whether humans can perceive CT fiber stimulation since in control subjects stroking the skin activates the large light-touch fibers and drowns out CT responses. Håkan Olausson’s group in Goteborg studied Ginette Lizotte and Ian. Their results suggested that, though at the borders of perception, CT fibers might instruct interpretation of activity in the other touch systems. Ian agreed to disclose something of his sexual feeling, there being much uncertainty over the sensory fibers involved. He was clear that while interpersonal intimacy is far more than mere sensation, feeling the warmth of another next to him is the one time his body enables an enveloping sensory experience.

Keywords:   affective touch, social touch, CT fibers, sexual sensation, Håkan Olausson, intimacy

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